Can Newt Gingrich actually beat Mitt Romney for the nomination?
Amazingly, he can. Gingrich has a chance to build a coalition of religious conservatives (his three marriages and history of infidelity notwithstanding), Tea Partyers (despite his support for the TARP bailout and the Medicare prescription-drug benefit) and others looking to shake up Washington (if he can gloss over his multimillion-dollar influence-peddling past).
How does Newt match up with Mitt?
Many GOP voters find Romney too bloodless, blah and insincere. Gingrich, with his volcanic seething over Barack Obama, is the kind of high-octane warrior they want to send into battle next year. Romney's aides dismiss Gingrich's long-term viability, but they might be underestimating the potency of his 30-year bond with the party's grassroots.
What's Gingrich's challenge now?
If he can be Good Newt (feisty, crisp, brainy) for the next 30 days, Gingrich will be Romney's worst nightmare. That means a disciplined focus on policy and no petulant ranting about perceived slights or travails. He's now raising enough cash to be in the game. Still, even with his surge in the polls, he is well behind Mitt Inc. in developing campaign infrastructure. As of Nov. 28, the morning after the New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed him, Gingrich's New Hampshire headquarters still lacked telephones.
America: An Oil Exporter?
For the first time since 1949, the U.S. is poised to become a net exporter of refined petroleum products, shipping more auto and jet fuel abroad than it imported in six of the first nine months of 2011, according to the Energy Information Administration. Conservation, a slow economic recovery and new oil-field discoveries have all contributed to the trend. The U.S. remains a net importer of crude oil.
The Pentagon has said it will cut its ranks of nearly 1,000 generals and admirals by 10%, but that did not stop the Air Force from promoting 39 colonels to brigadier generals in one recent fell swoop. The flying service has the highest ratio of generals to uniformed personnel: about 1 to 1,000. That compares with the Navy's 1 to 1,279 sailors, the Army's 1 to 1,808 soldiers and 1 to 2,350 for the Marines.
Number of sex offenders registered in the U.S. and its territories in 2011, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Where the gift of giving got nasty
SAN LEANDRO, CALIF.
A gunman shot a man who refused to hand over his purchases in a parking lot
A woman used pepper spray in the rush for Xboxes
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
A run on $2 waffle irons sparked a hair-pulling riot
A stampede for smart phones left two women hospitalized
Police bloodied an alleged thief; a video of the arrest went viral
THE SHOPPING MAUL
A New Kind of Black Friday